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Plants enhance health: golden bee


Orchid Bee in Hand / pura.vida200.. / LicenseCC-by-nc-sa - Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

Visits to nutrient-poor plants by golden bees may help protect from disease and parasites thanks to the collection of volatile oils.

"Male golden bees seek out and collect 'fragrances' from orchids and other plants that contain no nutrients.41 Historically we have explained this attraction to strong odors in terms of pheromonal communication, or scent disguise. However, it is also possible that because volatile oils interfere with bacterial respiration and are commonly detrimental or repellent to arthropods and insects, rubbing in or collecting smelly substances could reflect an adaptive preference for compounds that enhance health." (Engel 2002:126)
About the inspiring organism

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Apiculture practices that assist bees in fighting off viruses, such as colony collapse disorder.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Beekeeping, apiculture, animal husbandry, veterinary medicine, human medicine, farming, ranching, zoo industry, aquaculture, pet industry

Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology (Zoologie III)
K. Eduard Linsenmair (Emeritus)
University of W├╝rzburg
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
David Ward Roubik
Smithsonian Institution
Engel, C. 2002. Wild health: how animals keep themselves well and what we can learn from them. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 276 p.
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Eltz, T.; Whitten, W.M.; Roubik, D.W.; Linsenmair, K.E. Fragrance collection, storage, and accumulation by individual male orchid bees. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 25(1): 157-176.
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